“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13:14).
“THE GRACE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.” This is the grace we know. The grace was expressed in all its fullness at Calvary.
It is of this the apostle speaks in the 8th chapter of this epistle, “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich” (v. 9). Think of it in its detail—this verse so full of His bounty and blessing.
“For ye know.” Blessed knowledge! Blessed assurance!
“The grace.” Marvellous love working in the midst of evil and shown to unworthy objects.
“Of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The exalted Saviour, the mighty Son of God, who once stooped to holy Manhood on our behalf.
“That though He was rich.” In His eternal glory with the Father. He was ever poor in this world. His wealth preceded His incarnation.
“For your sakes.” For the sake of guilty, ruined sinners—ourselves. Blessed possessive pronoun this—“your.”
“He became poor.” Not only to the manger cradle and the despised Nazareth workshop, not only to the Galilean fields where foxes had burrows and birds of the air roosting-places, and He had not where to lay His head, but also to the awful distance and darkness of Golgotha where He was forsaken of God in righteousness.
“That ye.” Yes, we were in view. Such His love and goodness that He would have us blessed now and eternally.
“Through His poverty.” There was no other way for our enrichment. He, the Son of Man, must be lifted up upon the cross, He, the Christ, must suffer. The “poverty” is unsearchable to our finite minds. The darkness into which He went is impenetrable. The distance He knew is immeasurable. Poverty unutterable indeed!
“Might be rich.” Rich now, rich for ever. Rich in present relationship as sons of God, heirs of God, joint-heirs with Christ. Rich eternally when, in the Father’s house, made like to Christ, suited to be His companions there forever.
What grace is this! “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ!” Happy are we who know it. May the sense of it be ever present with us.
“AND THE LOVE OF GOD.” The grace of which we have spoken has cleared us from everything which was opposed to our blessing, and has opened the way for us to be in the presence of God without a fear and to enjoy His love. That love is our home, our dwelling-place, forever. There we find our heart’s anchorage. There we are at rest.
“Keep yourselves in the love of God” is the word of exhortation. We have our place there. Let us see that we do not leave the radiance of its sunshine for the gloom of the shadow of the world which knows it not. Good it is, physically good, to sit or walk in the sun’s rays without anything between. Good it is, spiritually good, to go in like David of old and sit “before the Lord.” As we do this our souls will thrive, and we shall grow by and in the knowledge of God.
That love reached the meridian height of its expression at the Cross, and that sun never declines. “Hereby perceive we the love, because He laid down His life for us.” “While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” So the love of God is commended to us. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
And the love displayed in the past is the same in the present. It was “toward” us then, it is “to us” and “in us” now. John 17:26 shows its fullness. Our Lord Jesus says: “I have declared unto them Thy name and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them and I in them.” This is the manner of the Father’s love which we are called to contemplate—we who are now the children of God “The Father Himself loveth” us. His heart of love is known now, and soon His house of joy will be known—the Father’s house where are the many abodes.
While we wait for the glad hour of Christ’s return, may “the Lord direct our hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.” He knows that love, and can lead our souls into its delights, and give us to enter into something of His endurance here on earth, while we wait for the fullness of blessing there on high.
“AND THE COMMUNION OF THE HOLY GHOST.” The fellowship unto which the Holy Spirit leads, and of which He is the power, is rich indeed. “Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.” We are led by Him to think the thoughts of the Father about the Son, and to think the thoughts of the Son about the Father, to have common delights, common aspirations with our fellow-Christians, while journeying on to the goal set before us.
“I think Thy thoughts after Thee, O God,” exclaimed an aged believer as he perused the Holy Scriptures. In those sacred writings God has unfolded His thoughts and counsels for the glory of His Son and for the fulfilment of His purposes of grace. He would have us to know them and find our pleasure where He finds His own. And the Holy Spirit dwells within us to conduct us into these joys even now.
In unbroken and unbreakable communion we shall be found in eternal days. There never a cloud will darken the sky of our spiritual delight. But now we may have a good foretaste of our everlasting bliss. “We have the best bit of heaven now in having the Holy Spirit” it has been remarked. If we walk in the power of the Holy Ghost we may be led to heights of bliss already and anticipate the gladness of the day of which the poet has sung,
“Oh, how I thirst these chains to burst,
Which weigh my spirit downward;
And there to flow, in love’s full glow,
With hearts like Thine surrounded.”
Then all will be in perfect accord with the mind of God. There the Spirit of God unhinderedly will engage our hearts with all that is of Himself. Now much of the energy is spent in maintaining us as we press forward against the wind and tide of opposition from the flesh within, the world around, and the devil about our goings. Then all this antagonism will cease and we shall be borne along without let or hindrance in the “pleasures for evermore,” of the presence of our Lord. But all our riches will be “THROUGH HIS POVERTY.”
May “the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Ghost” be with readers and writer, and with all His own, until the pilgrimage is over and the glory is gained.
Help and Food 1929